Are Nuts Bad for CKD? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Nuts are good for CKD, but in moderation and with careful monitoring. Because they have healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that can benefit your heart, blood vessels, and immune system, but also potassium, phosphorus, and sodium that can be harmful for CKD if consumed in excess.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition that affects your kidneys, which are two bean-shaped organs that filter your blood and remove waste and excess fluid.

In CKD, your kidneys gradually lose their function over time, which means they cannot filter your blood as well as they should.

This can lead to various health problems, such as high blood pressure, anemia, bone disease, and cardiovascular disease.

One of the key factors in managing CKD is diet.

What you consume can affect your electrolyte balance, fluid retention, blood pressure, and kidney function, which can impact your CKD symptoms and overall health.

To effectively manage CKD, you should consume protein, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium in moderation, and follow the recommendations of your doctor or dietitian.

You should also consume foods rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish.

Now, nuts are edible seeds that come from various plants, such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews.

People usually eat them raw, roasted, or as nut butters, flours, or milks.

Nuts are good for CKD because they contain healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that can benefit your heart, blood vessels, and immune system.

However, some nuts are also high in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium, which can be harmful for CKD if consumed in excess.

Therefore, the type and amount of nuts you eat may depend on your stage of CKD and your individual needs.

One ounce (28 grams) of nuts can give you different amounts of nutrients depending on the variety.

For example, according to the USDA FoodData Central database:

Almonds provide 164 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, 3.5 grams of fiber, 208 mg of potassium, 136 mg of phosphorus, and 0.2 mg of sodium.

Walnuts provide 185 calories, 18 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 125 mg of potassium, 98 mg of phosphorus, and 0.4 mg of sodium.

Pistachios provide 159 calories, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 291 mg of potassium, 137 mg of phosphorus, and 121 mg of sodium.

Cashews provide 157 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 187 mg of potassium, 168 mg ofphosphorus, and 3.4 mg of sodium.

Healthy fats can lower your cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and protect your blood vessels from damage.

Fiber can lower your blood sugar levels, improve your bowel movements, and lower your blood pressure.

Antioxidants can prevent oxidative stress, which can damage your cells and tissues.

Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and zinc can support your bone health, nerve function, and immune system.

However, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium can negatively affect CKD if they accumulate in your blood.

Potassium is important for your heart and muscle function, but too much of it can cause irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest.

Phosphorus is important for your bone and teeth health, but too much of it can cause bone loss, itching, and calcification of your blood vessels and organs.

Sodium is important for your fluid balance and nerve function, but too much of it can cause fluid retention, high blood pressure, and edema.

Furthermore, nuts are a plant-based food and plant-based foods are good for CKD.

Because, they tend to be lower in protein, which can reduce the workload on your kidneys and slow down the progression of CKD.

They also tend to be higher in antioxidants, which can protect your kidneys from further damage.

That’s why I suggest you include nuts in your CKD-friendly diet, but in moderation and with careful monitoring of your blood levels of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium.

Stick to one ounce (28 grams) or a handful of nuts per day, and choose unsalted or lightly salted varieties.

You can also soak, rinse, or boil nuts to reduce their potassium and phosphorus content.

Also, you shouldn’t eat nuts if you have a nut allergy, as this can cause a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.

Because, your immune system reacts to the proteins in nuts and releases chemicals that can cause symptoms such as hives, swelling, itching, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.

You can buy fresh nuts in your local market or can order them online.

Always choose nuts that are raw, dry-roasted, or lightly salted, and avoid nuts that are coated, candied, or flavored with sugar, honey, or spices.

Because, these additives can increase the calories, carbs, and sodium content of nuts, which can be harmful for CKD.

You can store nuts in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months, or in the refrigerator or freezer for longer.

Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and essential medical care, is key to managing CKD effectively.

I always recommend my CKD patients to follow a CKD-friendly diet to improve their overall well-being, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

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About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutritionist in West Bengal, India, with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry.

He has done his diploma in nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc (US), and completed various certification courses from several universities. He also has considerable research experience in PCOS.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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